Requesting information under Data Protection

​​​​​​​​​​​The Data Protection Act 1998 (the Act) is designed to protect the rights of individuals when organisations process information about them. The Act is concerned with all personal data, whether processed on computer, closed-circuit television, manual filing records, microfiche or any other media, and sets out rules relating to the collection, processing and disclosure of personal data.

The Act allows you to find out what information is held about you on a computer, and some paper records. This is known as a 'right of Subject Access'.

For the purpose of the Act:

  • personal data means any information that may be used to identify a living individual, either from that data alone, or from that data and any other information held or likely to be held by the Data Controller.
  • sensitive personal data (which merits extra protection under the terms of the Act) means personal data consisting of information as to an individual's racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious beliefs (or other similar beliefs), whether they are a member of a trade union, physical or mental health, sexual life, or details about a commission or alleged commission of any offence, any proceedings for any offence committed or alleged to have been committed by him, the disposal of such proceedings or the sentence of any court in such proceedings.

The Act gives legal rights to individuals in respect of personal data processed about them by the College. These rights, along with certain other requirements, are contained in eight Data Protection Principles. Notwithstanding certain exemptions, all of the principles apply to the College. For further information about the Data Protection Act and principles, see the Information Commissioner's Office website.

If you wish to know what information (if any) the College holds about you, you can make a Subject Access Request under the Data Protection Act 1998 using this form: 'Subject Access Request Form'. The frequently asked questions below have been collated to help you complete this process. You should submit your request to the Data Protection Officer (DPO) at the College via post or email.  If you have further questions, please email the DPO at: Data. who will be happy to assist you.

How much does it cost?

​Each subject access application will cost £10.

Cheques or postal orders must be made payable to the "College of Policing". A receipt will only be issued to you if payment is in cash. Please note that we do not accept the euro (including euro cheques) or overseas/international postal orders (in sterling). Overseas cheques must have a United Kingdom bank clearing facility.​​

How long will it take?

​By law we must reply to your subject access application within 40 calendar days. However, failure to provide proof of identity or the fee of £10 will delay the processing of your application.​​

It is important to follow up your applica​tion if it does not arrive by the 40th day. Please make enquiries as soon as the 40 days have passed.​

Can I send the completed subject access application back by fax or e-mail to save time?

​No, processing can only begin when the fee is received.​​

How can I access my data held on National databases e.g Police National Database (PND) National DNA database, Police National Computer (PNC), Ident1 ?

Your local force can help you on this request. Requests to access any records about you that may be held on the Police National Computer should be directed to the ACPO Criminal Record Office.

What do I do with my completed form?

​You must post the completed form to:

Data Protection Officer,
College of Policing,
Central House
Beckwith Knowle
Otley Road

Or email it to us at

Can I use subject access to get hold of someone else's record?

No. The purpose of the right to access personal data under s7 of the Data Protection Act 1998 is a right of the individual in which the personal data is about.

In some circumstances personal data regarding individuals may be released under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. However, there must be a compelling public interest justification for publishing data that may be an unjustified intrusion into a person’s private life. For further advice please refer to the Information Commissioner’s Office guidance on the application of s40 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (personal data).

How can I prove my identity?

We require proof of ID and proof of address (one of which must show your current address).

Proof of ID - any one from the following list:

  • Passport
  • Driver's licence
  • Government-issue photo identification
  • National Insurance card
  • NHS card
  • Other identity card, e.g. union membership
  • Tenancy agreement
  • Credit or bank card
  • Birth certificate


Proof of residence - any one from the following list:

  • Rent card/book
  • Benefit book
  • Council Tax bill
  • Utility bill within the last three months
  • Credit or bank card statement within the last three months
  • Letter from a Government department

Please do not send originals; photocopies are acceptable.​

Can I pay by debit or credit card?

We accept:

  • Cheques
  • International Bankers draft
  • British postal orders
  • Cash (however payment by cash is not recommended)
  • At present we are unable to accept online payments or payments by credit card.

Overseas cheques must have a United Kingdom bank clearing facility. On payment, a receipt will be issued to you.

Who processes my application?

Ethics, Integrity and Public Interest Team under direction of the College Data Protection and Freedom of Information Officer. The Ethics, Integrity and Public Interest Team will contact personnel or departments listed within your SAR to assertain whether any information is held about you and, if so, to obtain that information for processing inline with your SAR.

Please note that the College of Policing are entitled to ask for information that we reasonably need to find the personal data covered by the request. We do not need not comply with the subject access request until we have received this information.

How do I get my reply sent to an address, which is different to my ‘Home Address’ on the application form?

This can be arranged, providing you enclose a letter of authority signed by yourself, detailing where you want the reply sent and including relevant dates, if appropriate.

Can my application be processed more quickly than 40 days?

​All Subject Access requests are processed in strict date order from the date of receipt.

Can someone request a Subject Access disclosure on my behalf?

Yes, if you provide written and signed authorisation. This is known as a 'third party authority'

Can I request more than one copy of my disclosure document?

​You may request additional copies of the disclosure bundle. The charge is £10 per copy and must be made at the time of submitting your application.

Some information has been withheld from my disclosure bundle – why is this?

The supply of a copy of your personal data to you under s7 of the Act may be subject to redaction under the various non-disclosure provisions under the Act. For example, we may need to withhold information where the information relates to someone else, or, the disclosure will inhibit the prevention or detection of crime. For further details regarding the non-disclosure provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 can be found on the Information Commissioner's Office website:

If you believe your information has been unfairly withheld, you are encouraged to raise with the Data Protection and Freedom of Information Officer, who can be contact on the following details:

Email :


Data Protection and Freedom of Information Officer,
Ethics, Integrity and Public Interest Team
College of Policing

Central House,                
Beckwith Knowle,
Otley Road,

The information on my Subject Access disclosure is incorrect – who should I contact?

All data accuracies enquiries are handled by the Data Protection and Freedom of Information Officer who can be reached on the above details.

I believe the College of Policing should not be processing personal data about me – who should I contact?

​Under Section 10 of the Act an individual is entitled, in limited circumstances, to write to the College of Policing requiring that we do not handle their personal data in a manner that was causing or would be likely to cause unwarranted substantial damage or substantial distress to themselves or another person.

Requests under Section 10 must describe the personal data involved; describe the handling to which the individual objects; state that the handling was causing or would be likely to cause substantial damage or substantial distress to him/her or another; describe the damage or distress; state that the damage or distress was/would unwarranted; and give reasons why the handling was causing/would cause such distress and was/would be unwarranted.

All requests of this nature may be sent in writing to the College of Policing Data Protection Officer (see contact details above). It is worth noting that the Act includes certain provisions which may mean in a particular case College of Policing can continue to handle the personal data as intended despite the objection

Why are the College of Policing processing personal data about me?

​In the unlikely event that the College of Policing are processing personal information about you, this processing will be subject to the purposes outlined within our Fair Processing Notice 

I wish to request an independent review of the decision taken on my Data Protection Act 1998 request / complaint – who should I contact

Under Section 42 of the Act you can request the Information Commissioner to make an assessment if you believe that you are/have been adversely affected by the handling of personal data by the College of Policing.  Such requests should be made direct to the Information Commissioner whose contact details can be found below.

Generally, you have any concerns regarding the way your personal data has been handled by the College of Policing or the quality (accuracy, relevance, non-excessiveness etc.) of your personal data, you are encouraged to raise these concerns with the College of Policing Data Protection Officer by emailing or by writing to us at:

Data Protection Officer
College of Policing
Central House
Beckwith Knowle
Otley Road

The Information Commissioner is the independent regulator responsible for enforcing the Act and can provide useful information about the Act's requirements. The Information Commissioner's Office may be contacted using the following:

The Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House

Telephone: 01625 545700


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